The United States Coast Guard says it has repatriated 259 Caribbean migrants, including 166 to Haiti and 66 to the Bahamas, following five interdictions off the coasts of Florida, Haiti and Cuba.
“The Coast Guard, along with Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners, maintains a continual presence with air, land and sea assets in South Florida, the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea, collaborating to protect safety of life at sea,” said the US Coast Guard in a statement.
“With their combined multi-layered approach, they were able to interdict several illegal maritime migration events over the past week,” he added.
The US Coast Guard said the Cutter Dependable had intercepted two Haitian vessels, Monday, about 40 miles north of Ile de la Tortue, Haiti.
It said another Coast Guard Cutter, Hamilton (WMSL 753) stopped a vessel 30 miles north of Cayo Cruz Del Padre, Cuba.
In addition, the US Coast Guard said Miami-Dade Police Department reported that a recreational boat had been moored at Crandon Park with suspected migrants aboard.
“Our highest priority is to prevent loss of life at sea. Our Coast Guard crews, alongside Customs and Border Protection and our other mission partners across the Florida Straits, Windward Pass and the Mona Pass collaborated to act expeditiously in saving these 259 lives and repatriating them back to their country of origin,” said Commander Ernest Brown, deputy incident commander, Operation Vigilant Sentry.
Since October 1, last year, the US Coast Guard said its crews have encountered 6,537 Cuban migrants and 4,458 Haitian migrants.